Plumbers serve a variety of functions, from fixing toilets on emergency calls in the middle of the night to helping businesses maintain their plumbing systems. Plumbers have the knowledge and experience to direct the flow of liquid as they install faucets, maintain existing water mains or repair broken pipes. Their weekly salaries vary according to their employers and job locations.
Plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters earned an average salary of $52,950 per year as of May 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Dividing this amount by 52, the number of weeks in a year, produces a weekly wage of $1,018. Weekly pay was less than $558 for the lowest 10 percent of earners and above $1,623 for the highest paid 10 percent. The median pay, or midway point between the lowest and highest pay, was $945 a week.
Not surprisingly, plumbers get the highest pay in areas with high costs of living. For states, Alaska topped the list with average pay of $1,376 a week for plumbers. New York ranked next at $1,310 a week, followed by Illinois at $1,297a week. For metropolitan areas, the top pay for plumbers was in Nassau and Suffolk counties in New York at a mean $1,618 per week. Plumbers in San Jose, Calif., ranked next at $1,529 a week.
Pay by Industry
As in other construction occupations, the type of employer played a big part in determining pay and opportunities for plumbers. The best paying industries for the profession belonged to manufacturers of navigational, measuring, electro-medical and control instruments, which paid average salaries of $1,404 per week. Electric power generation, transmission and distribution companies ranked next at an average of $1,313 a week. The biggest employers of plumbers, building equipment contractors, paid an average of $1,030 a week.
A growing population in the United States will demand more structures in which to live, work, play and shop. These edifices will require water systems that plumbers can install, maintain and repair. Existing systems will also need modification to meet new standards for water efficiency and environmental safety. Because of these and other factors, the BLS expects employment of plumbers to increase 26 percent from 2010 to 2020, which is above the14 percent projected growth rate for all occupations in all industries. Economic fluctuation can affect employment. However, even during lean times, water systems need the maintenance and repair provided by plumbing professionals.